About this project
"With genuine concern about medicinal plants and the people who make their livelihoods from wild harvesting or farming them in rural areas around the world, Ann Armbrecht wonders how this could be done more equitably and sustainably in the future. So do I. Please consider making a kickstart pledge as a way to help build greater awareness and positive change for the planet and for plant medicine."
- Josef Brinckmann, VP of Sustainability, Traditional Medicinals
As an herbalist, have you ever felt uneasy about where the plants used in your remedies are from? As a consumer, have you ever wondered if you can trust the label on the bottle of supplements or tinctures on the grocery store shelf? And have you found yourself reaching for the cheaper bottle, doubting those extra dollars really make of a difference?
I’ve wondered all of these things for years and that’s why I launched the Sustainable Herbs Project.
WHAT IT IS:
The Sustainable Herbs Project is a new project by the producers of the award winning documentary, Numen: the Nature of Plants, the first feature length film on the healing power of plants. We are creating an interactive documentary following medicinal plants through the supply chain to provide you with the information needed to feel more confident about the herbal remedies you purchase. With stories, videos, and facts, we’ll bring the supply chain to life with interviews with men and women involved in all aspects of the industry.
Our vision is to use this site to launch a more educated and responsible consumer movement supporting high quality herbal remedies and sustainable and ethical sourcing. We want this interactive multi-media website to be available for free and so we have launched this Kickstarter Campaign to cover our costs up front. Proceeds will go to the design and development of the website/interactive documentary and to birthing an organization to carry on this work.
Reach Goals ~ Help us Reach $65,000!
China is a key and questionable source of so many herbs in the industry and being able to include research and footage from cultivation/collecting sites and processing centers in China would make this project even more comprehensive. If we raise $65,000 we can add a research/filming trip to China. The budget for our $54,000 goal is lean. Having a bit of padding will allow us to be more flexible and take advantage of opportunities as they arise...
We are confident we can reach this goal, but we need your help to do so!
Consider what it is worth to feel secure that the plants in your medicinal tea and herbal remedy have been sourced responsibly and that the remedies actually are what the labels claim them to be. And then contribute what you can!
And then share this project with friends!
The Sustainable Herbs Project (SHP) will provide the resources you need to find companies who really are doing the hard work of building sustainability into their supply chain and to encourage the industry as a whole to adopt better practices. Modeled on new, cutting edge interactive documentaries, we will create a user-friendly multi-media site that is educational, inspiring, and fun!
The SHP site will include:
- FACTS: A general overview of the botanical industry, tracing and mapping the different supply chains of key products such as essential oils, medicinal tea, liquid extracts, super critical extracts, etc.
- STORIES: Video interviews and photographs following medicinal plants from different regions of the world through their supply chains, bringing the journeys these plants make alive through the voices of individuals we do not typically see when we reach for a herbal remedy on the shelf or order bulk herbs online.
- ACTION: An outline of challenges to quality, sustainability and equity in different supply chains; action steps consumers can take to support responsible sourcing; best practices for companies wanting to improve their sourcing and processing.
- PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT: We are forming an advisory group to guide the development of the project and website and to help develop our long-term strategy. This will either include maintaining the Sustainable Herbs Project as a separate organization/project or partnering with an herb school that includes an educational track on the herb industry and herbal medicine-making.
Please make this vision a reality!
Your contribution will help cover:
- Three Research trips to Eastern Europe (Hungary, Poland, Serbia), India, North Carolina, and Oregon to film and interview wild collectors, processors, and finished-product manufacturers. We selected these regions because they are important sources of medicinal plants for the international market and represent different issues in the industry.
- Staff time to conduct and compile the research, edit video footage, and prepare written material for the website.
- Creation of the interactive documentary.
- Development and launch of the Sustainable Herbs Project website.
- Seed money to cover staff costs to keep the project updated.
- 8-10% covers Kickstarter and Amazon costs.
Reach Goals ~ Help us Reach $65,000!
- China is a key and questionable source of so many herbs in the industry and being able to include research and footage from cultivation/collecting sites and processing centers in China would make this project even more comprehensive. If we raise $65,000 we can add a research/filming trip to China.
- The budget for our $54,000 goal is lean. Having a bit of padding will allow us to be more flexible and take advantage of opportunities as they arise...
Please contribute what you can!
WHO WE ARE:
Project Director: Ann Armbrecht, PhD is a Harvard-trained anthropologist, author, herbalist and mother. She will oversee the overall production, research and writing for SHP. She is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary Numen: the Nature of Plants, and has directed the community engagement campaign for the film. She wrote the ethnographic memoir Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home, and has studied herbal medicine with Rosemary Gladstar, Caroline Gagnon among others.
Filmmaker: Terrence Youk, director and co-producer of Numen, is responsible for filming and editing video footage. He has produced nationally acclaimed programs for PBS, A&E and the Wisdom Channel as well as educational and presentation films crafted for nonprofit institutions including the National Hospice Foundation. Award-winning films include: Thich Nhat Hanh: Roots of Peace and Pioneers of Hospice: Changing the Face of Dying.
Though the SHP focuses on herbs traded in the international market, we strongly believe that the best medicine is medicine we make ourselves with plants we grow or that are grown by people we know. And so we are partnering with herbalists and organizations for our Kickstarter reward programs to offer a variety of books, recordings, and courses aimed at furthering your education practically and immediately. We are honored to be working with the extraordinary individuals, schools and organizations—all leaders in their field—who are offering their support. We invite you to visit their sites to learn more about the important work they are doing as well as what they offer through their courses and books.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Make a pledge. Right now. On Kickstarter. Your support, no matter how small (or large), makes a BIG difference to us. Please check out the donation tiers on the right to find the level and award that’s right for you.
- Please spread the word! Tell your friends, your family, your social networks. Without grassroots support our project will not be possible. Send a link of this page with a heartfelt endorsement to everyone you know, and encourage people to donate. You can also share us on Facebook, Twitter, by email, or via blog post.
- Join our mailing list to follow our progress!
- Contact us with other ideas for how we can raise funds. We’re happy to do interviews, write blog posts, etc.
Thank you so much for your support!
Although the Sustainable Herbs Project is focusing on herbs traded in the international market – I strongly believe that the best medicine is medicine we make ourselves with plants we grow or that are grown by people we know. And so for the rewards for the Kickstarter, I wanted to offer educational opportunities rather than products. I am so deeply grateful for all of the herbalists who so generously contributed to this campaign and for their incredible support. In addition to visiting our Kickstarter page, please visit their sites, take a look at their programs and courses and share their important work with others.
Everyone contributing any amount will be listed on our site as a contributor!
Our featured award:
And other fantastic awards! Act quickly before they are gone!
- United Plant Savers, individual membership. UpS is the premier organization protecting native medicinal plants in the US and Canada.
- Foundations of Herbalism Course by Vintage Remedies: Fantastic online program teaching how to managed your family's health concerns with herbal remedies and preparations made at home.
- Infused Calendula Oil: 1 30 ml bottle of Calendula In Macadamia Oil infusion by the Calendula Girls in Australia. Ann and Kirsty contacted me during the campaign to offer this oil as an award. Their generosity of spirit embodies why I'm doing this project: that plants are more than commodities. And so I am making an exception to my decision not to include products!
- Join an exclusive webinar with the Sustainable Herbs Team as they share stories, images and video clips from the field. A unique opportunity to hear first hand the results of their research, to ask questions, and to offer input! Hosted by Evolver.Net
- "Eat Your Weeds" Herbal Revolution T-shirt. Any color. Women's Scoop (2 of each size, 8 total), Men's (3 xs, 3 s) SEND A MESSAGE FIRST TO MAKE SURE YOUR SIZE IS AVAILABLE. Comes with an Eat Your Weeds Sticker!
- Dina Falconi and Wendy Hollender's beautiful book (printed with funds from a wildly successful Kicskstarter!) Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook (F&F).
Some fantastic on-line courses, movies, e-books and more!
- Florida School of Holistic Studies: Roots of Herbalism home study course (on-line). Check out the great videos and introduction to the class here (one spot only, act quickly!).
- Juliet Blankespoor, Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine: We are thrilled to be able to offer a spot in the new online course Juliet is lovingly creating (and documenting on Facebook and Instagram): Cultivating Medicinal Herbs (available Fall 2015). This is our top award ~ and we are offering at a reduced rate so act quickly if you are interested!
- BackCountry Recordings: your pick of 1 single MP3 recording from a wide selection of lectures by leading herbalists; 1 full set of your choice of MP3 recordings.
- Our Common Roots: Unveiling our Global Traditions of Healing with Plants, a film by Glenn Axford and Marjolaine Forest-Axford (digital download).
- Rosalee de la Forȇt: Cold and Flu for Children, an e-book.
- The Essential Herbal: one-year subscription (hard copies sold out, PDFs still available); 1 10-year compilation of The Essential Herbal magazine that includes 3 books – Under the Sun, By the Hearth, and Through the Seasons (sold out!).
- Paul Bergner. Folk Remedies Database: Traditional treatments for medical ailments from more than twenty-five cultures. E-Book (PDF). 253 Pages with Index; The Healing Power of Minerals and Trace Elements. Abridged version, 2014. 150 pages. Traces the decline in mineral nutrition in American soils and foods over the second half of the twentieth century, and offers ways to construct a healthy whole-foods, mineral-rich diet.
- Deb Soule, Avena Botanicals: How to Move Like a Gardener: Planting and Preparing Medicines from Plants. Under the Willow Press.
- Guido Masé, Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism: The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter and Tonic Plants. Inner Traditions.
- Mel and Jeff Carpenter, Zack Woods Herb Farm: The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale. Chelsea Green Books.
- Rosemary Gladstar. Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center: Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Publishing.
- Nick Neddo. The Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments, Prints and More from Nature. Quarry Press.
- Herbal Academy of New England: Subscription in the Herbarium, a botanical on-line reference site and 1 spot in the Online Introductory Herbal Course (course spot sold out!).
- American Herbalist Guild: 1 Membership, includes subscription to the Journal of the American Herbalist Guild (sold out!); Conference proceedings from American Herbalist Guild 2014 Conference.
- Herbal Educational Services: 1 set of recordings and book download for 2014 Southwest Conference on Botanical Medicine and 1 set of recordings and book download for 2014 Medicines from the Earth Herb Symposium.
- Florida School of Holistic Living: Free admission to the 2015 Florida Herbal Conference. Note date: Feb 27-March 1, 2015; Roots of Herbalism home study course (on-line). Check out the great videos and introduction to the class here!
- Caroline Gagnon, Flora Medica: Introduction to Chinese Medicine and Plants Energetics online course. Note start date: March 10-June 16th.
- Host a screening for your students or as a fundraiser for your organization. Skype Q&A with director, Ann Armbrecht. Also in-person presentations for screenings in New England.
- Plus we are offering on-line screenings of Numen, the DVD, and all of the screenings!
Risks and challenges
We have completed long term complex projects in the past and we are confident in our ability to complete the project we have described.
That said, things come up: Life, sickness, technical challenges.
We've faced these all before and still finished the work we set out to complete. And once again, we will do everything in our power to complete the project as outlined.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter